Boukoleon Palace, Istanbul

Boukoleon Palace, Istanbul

Lying on the shore of the Marmara Sea in Istanbul, this was one of the city's first Byzantine Palaces, most probably built by Roman Emperor Theodosius II in the 5th century. Originally called Hormisdas, it was later named the Boukoleon (or Bucoleon) from a statue of a bull and a lion that stood the small harbor in front of the palace.

The known and still visible parts were added during the time of Emperor Theophilos (829-842), who greatly expanded and renovated the structure, adding a 300m-long façade on top of the sea-facing walls. It would remain the main palace for the Byzantine court until the 11th century with the construction of the Palace of Blachernae by the Komnenos dynasty.

In the 1204 sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, Boukoleon was taken by Boniface of Montferrat who found in it treasures "beyond end or counting." Among his prizes was also Empress Margaret, daughter of Bela III of Hungary, who took refuge at the palace and whom Boniface eventually married.

In 2018, it was announced by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality that the palace would be restored by the Cultural and Natural Heritage Conservation Board, with plans to develop it into an open-air museum with "a timber walking trail for visitors, a museum, and a pool." Until that time comes, the ruins are temporarily protected by fences.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Istanbul. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Boukoleon Palace on Map

Sight Name: Boukoleon Palace
Sight Location: Istanbul, Turkey (See walking tours in Istanbul)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Creating your own self-guided walk in Istanbul is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Istanbul Old City Walking Tour

Istanbul Old City Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Bosphorus Coast Walking Tour

Bosphorus Coast Walking Tour

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This self-guided walk will take you along the coast so that you...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

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The vast Anatolian shore, wrongly...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Byzantine Heritage Walking Tour

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The Byzantine Empire’s rich cultural and architectural heritage is still preserved in dazzling sites throughout the city. Away from its Islamic...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Old European Quarter Walk

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Its growth was boosted by the opening of the Orient Express line, connecting Paris to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Istanbul Introduction Walking Tour

Istanbul Introduction Walking Tour

Formerly known as “Byzantium”, “Constantinople” and “New Rome”, Istanbul is the main city of Turkey, straddling the Bosphorus Strait, and as such, bridging the gap between Europe and Asia, both geographically and culturally. This ancient transcontinental metropolis embraces cultural influences of the many empires and civilizations that once ruled and flourished on this land.

...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles

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